Keeping the Trees at the Oregon Country Fair

Jul 7, 2017

The Oregon Country Fair takes place on a wooded property along the Long Tom River near Veneta. The annual arts festival wouldn’t be the same without its bountiful trees and flora. Because of this, the Fair’s crew does all it can to keep its native plant species on the grounds.

Oregon Country Fair co-manager Shane Harvey stands in front of a new wooden fence at the fairgrounds west of Eugene.

“This is from one of the fir trees from this year," says Harvey. "So yeah, this is locally sourced onsite. This is from a fir tree that fell three years ago that we just had milled into slabs for fencing.”

Many of the structures at the Oregon Country Fair are built at least partially with wood sourced from the grounds.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Harvey says that the Fair tries to repurpose fallen trees as much as possible. He says many of the structures at the site are composed at least partially with wood sourced from the site.

“When we lose trees out here onsite I cut them up into 20 foot lengths, and I haul them out and we have a milling crew that comes in and they mill structure materials – slabs of wood – out of them."

The Country Fair has also been making an effort to propagate native flora to repopulate its grounds as well as the rest of the Willamette Valley.

“We’re collecting all the seeds from all of our wild flowers because they’re only found on this property now in abundance and we use them to repopulate our stuff and we give them away to various different organizations that do wetland restoration projects in the Willamette Valley,” says Harvey.

The Country Fair crew is also collecting seeds from local trees. This is in part a defense strategy against the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that is wiping out ash populations across the country.